Back to school – should knitting be on the curriculum?

Our wonderful craft has not been a part of the national curriculum in UK schools since the late 1980’s – although it remained a part of the curriculum in Shetland right up until 2010.

Since then, it has been reported that knitting, sewing and embroidery are slowly making a comeback in design and technology lessons as children learn traditional home skills again.

There has been lots of research into how children can benefit from knitting, with both doctors and teachers noticing improvements in:

  • Reading – as it uses a left to right and/or cicular process
  • Maths – knitting teaches both basic and more complex mathematics (e.g counting, skip counting, multiplication, division, subtraction, adding and patterning).
  • Fine and gross motor skills – knitting requires dexterity and mobility which helps improve brain function
  • Comprehension – understanding the process between making each stitch
  • Problem solving – looking at knitting and identifying the problems
  • Creativity – thinking of colour combinations, patterns and shapes
  • Patience – projects can take a lot of time and persistence to complete
  • Attentiveness – knitting can be very absorbing and therefore improves concentration skills
  • General behaviour – knitting in both soothing and repetitive. A recent article in the Guardian actually claims it is much more calming than football
  • Spatial recognition – develops an comprehension of how things fit together
  • Confidence building – learning a new skill and taking joy from the achievement
  • Building self-esteem – it can be quite tricky to learn to knit, but when children can see that they are able to achieve things on their own they realise that trying something new can be rewarding. They also begin to realise that they are creative and imaginative which in turn has a great impact on their self-esteem. (Just think how delighted we all are when we learn a new stitch or finally finish a work in progress!)
  • Life enhancement – knitting is a hobby that children are able to come back to time and time again during their lives. And it can be just that – a hobby, but it can also become vital therapy

knitting

Knitting clubs in schools

Despite being removed from the curriculum, some schools have introduced extra-curricular knitting groups with great results. Teachers at Worth School in Kent reported dramatically improved behaviour, noticing improved communication as rather than being on their phones or computer, pupils were talking and knitting with each other – enjoying real conversations that it is believed otherwise they probably would not have engaged in. Teachers also noted improvements in writing. Click here to read the report >>

Knitting clubs are becoming increasingly popular as an extra-cirrucular activity. A great example of this is the knitting club at St George’s School in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, where 3 pupils came up with the idea of knitting blankets, hats and soft toys for premature babies at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

knitting club at st georges school

Chanel, Kelly and Hannah from St George’s School Knitting Club. Source: stgeorgesdunstable.co.uk

The girls explained:

“Chanel’s mum usually makes a donation to the unit and she suggested maybe we would like to donate something. We decided that we would make things in Knitting Club to donate. We have been putting the blankets, hats and soft toys in bundles like gift packs for the babies. We’ve been knitting in all our spare time! So far we’ve made ten packs but we will keep going and are hoping to make it a regular thing. Every month or term, one of our mums will drop in the gifts we have made to the hospital.”

Inspired?

Being specialists in knitting holidays, we like to try and promote our beloved craft as much as possible. We especially believe that it is so important that this craft is introduced to future generations. If you or somebody you know have thought about setting up an knitting club for children – have a look at the Craft Yarn Council’s guide on why you should!